Friday, April 1, 2011

.: Don't Let Your Guards Down Today... :.

… coz it is April Fools day.

Got this email from my colleagues and it sounded way too dodgy to be real. But who knows right?

Sick leave to be verified by new medical device

If you think you can continue taking sick leave for illegitimate reasons, think again. A new law is mandating the use of a cutting-edge device that can verify whether you were ill or not.

The device will be introduced in phases, starting in August this year. Remarkably resembling an ordinary USB drive, the device, named SickVerify, will eventually substitute the role of doctors as providers of medical certificates.

By August 2012, doctors nationwide will lose the legal authority to issue medical certificates. From then on, all workers will have to submit to a test using SickVerify to substantiate their claims for sick leave.

These steps were taken to finally eliminate the extremely prevalent issuance of 'false' medical certificates obtained by bribing doctors. The illegitimate use of sick leave costs the nation billions of ringgit each year due to lost productivity.

Proudly designed and manufactured in Malaysia, the aforementioned device tests the subject's saliva for the presence of antibodies and cortisol. Antibodies are the result of the body's response to illness and infections. Cortisol, on the other hand, is a hormone released when the body experiences stress or pain.

For example, a flu would result in the production of antibodies, which would remain even after the illness subsides. Stomach cramps - a frequent reason cited in sick leave applications among women - would trigger the release of cortisol. Traces of the hormone would also be present in the body days after.

Using a complex series of algorithms, SickVerify measures the concentration of antibodies and cortisol in the saliva sample to determine whether the subject was ill during the time period claimed for sick leave. The device is reportedly 98.9% accurate.

The test itself is blindingly simple and quick. The subject wets a fingernail-sized piece of cottonwool with his/her saliva. The cottonwool is inserted into the compartment of the device.

SickVerify, which is then plugged into any laptop or desktop via a USB socket. A program provided with SickVerify can then be run to begin the test (which takes approximately 3 minutes) and display the results.

Businesses in some areas of the country will begin receiving the device on August 6th. Private sector entities will have to bear the initial costs of the device, but the payment is fully tax-deductible.

(Oh, I like the tax-deductable bit, sound all so convincing!)

Remember this classic?

The BBC TV programme Panorama ran a famous hoax in 1957, where Swiss women were shown harvesting strands of spaghetti from trees and laying them in the sun to dry. The narrator explained that a mild winter and elimination of the dreaded spaghetti weevil had farmers hoping for a bumper crop. A large number of people contacted the BBC wanting to know how to cultivate their own spaghetti trees or how they can buy a spaghetti plant for themselves.

Happy April Fools Day! :)

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